Boeing plane deliveries hit record; Airbus wins on orders

Tue Jan 6, 2015 6:06pm EST
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By Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher

(Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) said on Tuesday that it delivered 723 jetliners in 2014, hitting its own target, setting an industry record and retaining its title as the world's biggest plane maker, besting rival Airbus Group (AIR.PA: Quote).

But Boeing lost out to Airbus on new orders, according to a person familiar with the matter, a key contest in determining future market share.

Boeing set company records by booking 1,550 gross orders and 1,432 net orders worth $232.7 billion at list prices in 2014. Net orders, which account for cancellations, rose 6 percent from the prior year.

Airbus is expected to announce next week that it was ahead of Boeing on both gross orders and net orders, according to the person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified.

Airbus is expecting "one of the best years ever" in orders, according to a source at the European plane maker, speaking earlier on Tuesday. In 2013, the company booked 1,619 gross orders and 1,503 net orders.

While investors closely watch orders, deliveries measure the ability to convert orders into cash, since the bulk of aircraft payments come when airlines fly them away from the factory.

Boeing's report suggested stable or growing production rates and also showed its progress in selling end-of-production jets as it transitions to newer models.

The company delivered 126 of its 737s in the fourth quarter, for example, precisely hitting its target of 42 planes a month. In 2014, it delivered 485 of the jets, a record.   Continued...

Airbus's company logo is pictured at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, December 4, 2014.  REUTERS/ Regis Duvignau